This is a common question, and if you’ve been working with a personal trainer to step up your fitness game it’s natural to be confused about what to do if you get injured during one of those sessions.
It’s unfortunate when it happens, but sometimes the personal trainers you’ll find in gyms have minimal training.
Improperly trained personal trainers can cause injuries.
Our experience has been that in those cases, that training can amount to little more than an online course and a simple certification. That cursory understanding of fitness form and techniques can lead to:
- - Improper instructions
- - Not properly spotting you during exercises
- - Advising you to do exercises beyond your current capabilities, such as lifting too much weight
- - Advising improper form, which can lead to strains and falling backward
One simple example for context would be a case where the personal trainer has advised you to lift weight near your limit in an improper form, and once you have it over your head you lose balance and fall backward onto other equipment. That could mean hitting your head, landing on a barbell and injuring your back, or other related serious injury.
Another case, as we discussed in an earlier post, involved a woman being advised to try a new exercise she’d never done before and getting her foot caught on a piece of equipment that caused her to fall backward.
She fractured her wrists, missed four months of work, and had some degree of permanent damage.
Do I have a legal case for my gym-related injury?
This will depend a bit on circumstance, but generally if the injury is serious and is a direct result of the workout your trainer had you doing it’s feasible.
If we can establish that the injury was caused by your personal trainer not paying enough attention, giving bad advice, or having you do exercises that are ill-advised given your specific physical condition, it will go a long way toward building a case.
The other major factor that goes into building a legal case around a gym-related injury is the extent of your injuries.
Factors you should consider when contacting an attorney include:
- - Has the injury prevented you from working and therefore earning a living?
- - Has the injury impacted your quality of life? Does the medical prognosis indicate that diminished quality of life may be long-lasting or permanent?
- - Has the injury caused significant suffering -- physical or emotional -- for you and your family?
- - Does your gym have a waiver that it asks members to sign prior to working with a personal trainer? (In some cases this would make it difficult to proceed with a lawsuit, but not always as much as you’d think.)
- - Was your personal trainer aware of a prior injury you suffered, and then recommended a workout routine that exacerbated that injury or caused it to become worse?
Further, some common examples of serious gym-related injuries include:
- - Heart attack
- - Spinal injuries (especially those that require surgery)
- - Broken or fractured bones
- - Significant muscle tears that require surgery to resolve
If you’ve suffered from any of those types of injuries because of work you did with a personal trainer, it’s worth exploring your options.
Generally the statute of limitations on these types of injuries is 3 years. If you are a family member of someone who has died as a result of gym-related injuries, you typically have 2 years from the date of your loved one's passing to file a lawsuit.